Categories: Edu Info & Careers

Tips For Online Instructors: How To Give Constructive Feedback

April 11, 2016

Constructive feedback always starts with good intentions. In education, it stems from the educator’s goals to help students succeed in their course. In online learning, despite the lack of a typical classroom teacher, instructors provide feedback to learners so they are aware of their performance and what they need to improve on.

While educators embed features that allow for convenient and engaging learning experience when they create online courses, these are not enough to ensure a successful completion of their course. For online students to succeed in their course, it is necessary for their educators or instructors to provide them with constructive feedback. This allows learners to know their areas of improvement, so they are well-guided into achieving their goals and gaining the knowledge that led them to signing up for the course in the first place.

Here are some tips for online instructors on how they can provide effective positive feedback:

Be Specific

It is important that you present your feedback in a clear and detailed manner, pointing out where the concerned student needs improvement. Detail what was incorrectly done and discuss what actions would be needed for them to perform better.

Be Objective

When providing feedback, remind your students of the objectives of their online course and how your inputs can be used for them to reach these goals. Show them that your guidance is based on your assessment of their actual performance and that you are providing them with the necessary insights so that they can work towards their goals more effectively.


Avoid focusing on their ‘faults’ and maintain a positive, motivating tone throughout the feedback. Keep in mind that your purpose is to ensure that students improve their performance so they complete their course successfully. You want them to feel driven to work on their areas of improvement after they have received your feedback, not upset with you or themselves.

Cite Their Strengths, Too

Even the bottom performer has strengths. It is important that you let your students know that you notice their positive attributes and not just their mistakes. In fact, it will be good to start your feedback on a positive note by mentioning something that they did great on, then you can continue discussing their areas of improvement. Starting your feedback with their strengths will help make them feel comfortable and will be more open to the points you will raise.

Offer Solutions

Your feedback is not just about citing errors. It aims to guide students towards better performance. So, part of your feedback is to offer realistic solutions or action plans so that your students are well guided into performing towards the course objectives. When educators create and design online courses, they outline course objectives to keep learners focused on these, but instructor feedback is vital to ensure that these objectives are met.

Follow Up

Once you are done providing feedback, it doesn’t end there. To ensure that your students commit to that action plans that you have discussed with them, it is necessary to follow up and see how they are doing. A quick chat or email will let them know that you are monitoring their progress. Encourage them to be open about any difficulties they may be experiences along the way so you can provide continued guidance.

By keeping these tips in mind, you will be able to provide effective feedback to your online students in a manner that they will be open to and that will enable you to guide them towards their success.

Michelle Rubio has been writing for SMEs across the United States, Canada, Australia and the UK for the last five years. She is a highly-experienced blogger and SEO copywriter, writing business blogs for various industries such as marketing, law, health and wellness, beauty, and education, particularly on creating online courses such as those offered by

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